🔴URGENT COMMUNIQUE AND SITUATION REPORT BY SUDAN LIBERATION MOVEMENT/ARMY (SLM/A-AW) TO UN SECURITY COUNCIL, INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT, UNAMID & SUDAN TROIKA ON WAR CRIMES ACCOUNTABILITY, DARFUR CRISIS AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION
The leadership of the Sudan Liberation Movement and Sudan Liberation Army together with much of the world and international human rights community, applauds the extradition of former Janjaweed commander and genocidaire Ali Kushayb to face justice at the International Criminal Court. We equally welcome ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s call for the Sudanese interim government to move forward with the necessary procedures to facilitate the extradition process to the Hague for former President Omar al Bashir, so he too at long last faces his own reckoning with international law for his richly deserved multiple indictments for War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide.
Where we cannot register the same enthusiasm is in the Sudanese interim government’s pledge to genuinely discuss the concrete possibility of rationalizing the methodology to deliver other noted accused genocidaires and war criminals from the deposed regime to also face the full weight of international law. We regard this ostensible intent as little more than symbolic lip service, when the well intentioned Prime Minister Hamdok is a self-evident, lame duck with little genuine executive authority, hamstrung by the forces of the old order still very much in evidence, overtly or behind the scenes wielding the true power in the interim government.
This is epitomized by the enduring stranglehold the Sudanese Armed Forces, the former Janjaweed now formalized as the Rapid Support Forces, their partner militias and other members of the state security apparatus still impose on Sudan’s national condition. That the Sudanese judiciary, itself in dire need of profound reform, is a largely toothless institution also subject to routine intimidation does not provoke confidence either.
These observations are not mere abstraction but discernible empirical fact, where freedom of expression, freedom of the press and the right to legitimate democratic dissent, despite the advances made since the People’s Revolution and the civic uprising last summer, are also still constrained realities subject to reprisal and heavy handed, draconian conduct by the state. The former president Al- Bashir’s regime militias and its security elements will not their conspiracies and schemes to implicate war victims and eventually dismantle the IDP’s camps in order to bury the evidences of the crimes committed as we have seen in Kalma IDP camp incident of Yesterday , though the Sudan Liberation Movement deplore the incident and console the families who lost their dear ones,but this menacing gesture with the promise of violence against defenseless civilian IDP’s cannot be mistaken as anything other than a vengeful measure by pro- regime elemts and their militias for Kushayb’s presence at the Hague. And yet we are informed by the UN Secretariat the much diminished presence of the UN Blue Helmets that never delivered adequate security and safety to the people of Darfur, has been a resounding success and is no longer necessary when it’s temporarily extended mandate concludes in December. Small wonder the Sudanese interim government insists on a purely civilian UN follow up mission, devoid even of a civil police contingent. The false and ludicrous premise is that upon the last UN boots leaving Darfur, the very same Sudanese Army, RSF and partner militias that have perpetrated mass murder, now remarkably imbued with democratic vocation and respect for human rights will somehow protect the civilians of Darfur. It’s akin to letting the SS liberate Auschwitz or leaving the Ottoman Army to safeguard Armenian villages.There are many senior figures in the military, paramilitary, police and intelligence branches of the past and present Sudanese security state. Among those evading accountability alongside torturer and former National Security Adviser Salah Gosh, is none other than the sitting Chairman of the Sovereign Council, General Abdel Fattah al Bourhan, whom as a Sudanese Army intelligence Colonel was earlier an intellectual author and enabler of the Darfuri genocide. His current mandate does not expunge his past deeds nor will we undergo conscious amnesia of more recent events, when he too together with others must be subject to prosecution for command responsibility for the brutal crackdown on civilians last June. We will neither voice objections when other accomplices implicated in the Darfuri genocide and crimes against humanity in South Kordofan and Blue Nile state and even insurgent figures complicit in war crimes, that lost sight that they were fighting for freedom, face international justice should that day come. Justice for Sudan must be an impartial and a transparent not selective affair or it will be no justice at all.
But until that day comes when the present transitional government in Sudan so glaringly lacks democratic legitimacy, without a popular mandate or even democratic intent, where true civilian sovereignty is held hostage, it is not an authority we will recognize. The clear tactic in Khartoum thus far is a matter of deceptive form over function, where limited or token gestures taken in the name of democracy are sufficient cosmetic cover for the continuation by other means of the ancient regime. Two obvious examples are the renaming of the intelligence service Gosh headed, and rechristening the Islamist Popular Defense Forces militia, so bloodstained in Darfur as the Reserve Department. We will not be fooled by semantics, when the rape of Darfur has not ceased by the very same militias, RSF and other uniformed henchmen.
We call on the UN Security Council and Sudan Troika nations to stop weakening and disempowering the ICC but instead to lend it the far greater support it requires, that those hungry for justice in all of Sudan deserve. We equally call upon the ICC to issue new indictments for all the Sudanese war criminals and genocidaires that have yet to face legal sanctions under international law. As we have done repeatedly we beseech the UN Secretariat to reopen candid and lucid discussions on preventing the withdrawal of UNAMID and extending its mandate. The UN Security Council must grasp what is plainly painfully obvious that peace has not come to Darfur, as neither the pathway to true democracy has not emerged in Sudan as a whole. The voice of freedom in Sudan is a cry of liberation that revanchist forces still seek to silence. But we will not be silent, nor co-opted by the illusion of a just peace, when there is neither justice nor peace.
We repudiate the false propaganda recently issued by the military establishment that the SLA violated the ceasefire it adopted of its own free will. We reiterate, however, in light of today’s fresh aggression against civilians, the self-defense forces of the SLA will not hesitate to respond militarily against fresh war crimes inflicted on the civilian population of Darfur or armed incursions inside liberated territory under our jurisdiction. In the same instance we assure the UN Security Council, the ICC and the Troika nations, of our solemn vow to ever abide by the civilized rules of warfare and adhere to the statutes of the Geneva Conventions, although we are a non-state resistance army. Despite our frustration with UNAMID we reaffirm not only our own neutrality towards UN peacekeepers but our willingness to collaborate with them on joint efforts were such a framework possible, to ensure the safety of all civilians in Darfur regardless of their affiliation.
In closing when this past June 6th marked the seventy sixth anniversary of the Allied armies landing in Nazi occupied Normandy, during Operation Overlord, opening the vital second Western front against Hitler’s Third Reich and the beginning of the final campaign to liberate Europe from fascism; as we too fight for democracy against our own oppression and a genocide driven by an extremist ideology and racism, in the shadow of the generation of heroes that ended the Holocaust, we ask you do not cheapen their legacy, by forcing us to submit to what you could not endure as civilized nations, as victors of the Second World War and guardians of the international community.
Abdul Wahid al Nur, Chairman Sudan Liberation Movement and Commander in Chief, Sudan Liberation Army.